Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR DX Announcement

Nikon has just released a new DX lens – the Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR DX, also known as “AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR“. This 16.7x superzoom lens is designed to work only with APS-C DSLRs like Nikon D3200, with an equivalent field of view of a 27-450mm lens. Boasting 19 elements in 14 groups, this lens is designed similarly to the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, except it is even longer in size and heavier.

Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

I will be reviewing this lens, along with the 24-85mm this summer.

Official Press Release

MELVILLE, N.Y. – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the addition of two new lenses to the legendary NIKKOR lineup, the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR and the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lenses. The new 18-300mm VR lens is a versatile and compact 16.7X all-in-one super zoom DX-format lens, while the new 24-85mm VR lens is an ideal standard zoom for any FX-format photographer. These optics were designed to meet the needs of all types of photographers, from those looking to capture everything from family outings to elusive wildlife and stunning landscapes. The new 18-300mm and 24-85mm lenses deliver the performance and superior image quality that photographers of all levels have come to expect from NIKKOR lenses whether capturing still images or HD videos.

To capture stunningly sharp images with excellent clarity and color reproduction or HD video that exhibits sharp critical focus with a dramatic depth of field, the new 18-300mm VR and 24-85mm VR lenses will empower photographers with a variety of exclusive core NIKKOR technologies. Both lenses are equipped with Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) II image stabilization system which provides the equivalent of a shutter speed approximately four stops faster. The built-in Vibration Reduction will help photographers create blur-free images and video while shooting handheld and in challenging lighting conditions. Two focus modes, manual-priority autofocus (M/A) and manual focus (M), are easily selected in both lenses as well. When either lens is in manual-priority autofocus (M/A) mode, users will be able to instantly switch from autofocus to manual focus operation by simply rotating the focus ring, even during AF servo operation. Additionally, both lenses feature an internal focusing system, providing fast focus without changing the length of the lens while retaining working distance through the focus range, and Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology designed to deliver fast, accurate and quiet AF performance. The lenses also boast Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating (SIC) which provides superb color reproduction, color consistency and reduced flaring.

“Whether a pro on assignment, a photo enthusiast or an indie cinematographer, all Nikon users appreciate and rely on the vast selection and reliability of NIKKOR lenses for all of their imaging needs,” said Bo Kajiwara, director of marketing, Nikon Inc. “The new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm VR and AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm VR lenses are fully optimized to capture stunning images and videos while meeting the growing needs of photographers of all levels around the world.”

The NIKKOR 18-300mm VR Lens: Nikon’s Longest Focal Range
Building on the popularity and versatility of Nikon’s telephoto zoom lens lineup which includes both the NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 and 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lenses, the new 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens is Nikon’s longest focal range ever, with an astounding 16.7X ultrahigh-ratio zoom range. The DX-format 18-300mm VR lens is surprisingly compact, lightweight and covers a focal range from wide-angle 18mm to super-telephoto 300mm, equivalent to a focal length of 27mm to 450mm in FX/35mm format. At the 300mm focal length setting, the lens’ large f/5.6 aperture enables photographers to shoot at faster shutter speeds with shallow depth-of-field. This new super telephoto zoom lens is ideal for taking stills when travelling and for all around general photography including landscapes, portraits and distant subjects. The 18-300mm lens is also excellent for recording HD video as it can be used for wide establishing shots, medium close-up shots and extreme telephoto sequences when the users want to separate the subject from the background.

The construction of the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens consists of 19 optical elements in 14 groups with three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements that effectively minimize chromatic aberration, even at the widest aperture settings, and three aspherical lens elements that virtually eliminate aberrations at wide aperture settings. The new lens also incorporates a nine rounded blade diaphragm to help achieve a natural looking dramatic separation between subject and background.

The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR also has a dedicated zoom lock switch which secures the lens barrel at its minimum length and will prevent the lens from sliding during transportation. Additionally, the 18-300mm VR lens is ideal for capturing close-ups with great detail, as it offers a 1.48 ft. minimum focusing distance at 300mm, as well as a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:3.2X.

Price and Availability
The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens will be available at the end of June 2012 for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $999.95*.

Lens Construction and MTF

Here is the lens construction:

Nikon 18-300mm Lens Construction

And MTF Curves for wide and telephoto:
Nikon 18-300mm MTF Wide Nikon 18-300mm MTF Tele

Pre-order information

Pre-order your copy of the Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR DX from B&H for $999.95.

Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.


  1. 1
    ) MM

    Will it be compatible with Nikon D5000?

    Thanks in anticipation

    • 2
      ) Amit Kumar

      Yes, it will be compatible.

  2. 3
    ) francisco

    my 18-200 VRII is now for sale… :)

    • 4
      ) francisco

      and is now sold!

      • 5
        ) Homero

        How much did you sale it?

        • 6
          ) francisco

          sold for U$600 :)

    • Francisco, good move ;-) This lens will make the 18-200mm obsolete!

  3. 7
    ) francisco

    i just sold it for U$600 :)

    • 26
      ) yogesh

      Hello Francisco,
      i do have 18-200 mm lens and wanna sell it, so i can buy may be 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens. Need your advise, where did u sell? Any idea whether to sell it to b&h?
      Worse case scenario, i am planning to put it on ebay. thanks in advance.

      • 31
        ) francisco

        well, i am here at Abu Dhabi at the moment and the staffs of one of the store of the nikon distributor here are my friends, they offered it through their network of customers, it turns out there was one guy who has been dreaming of the 18-200… the deal was done rather quick!

        i would suggest ebay, though…

        • 32
          ) yogesh

          Thanks a lot francisco for your quick message. I will try e bay.

  4. 8
    ) Amar

    Dear Nasim
    Do you think this will work with the D700 and V1?
    Would be nice to try this with a 1.5 TC and D7000 or with the V1 see what it does for bird photography.

    • Amar, it is a DX lens, so it will only work at less than half the resolution of full-frame. It will work with V1 with an adapter. Also, you cannot use a TC with anything but long prime telephoto lenses – the exceptions are 105mm macro and 70-200mm zoom. Lastly, I would never use a superzoom for bird photography. You will be seriously disappointed with its sharpness and bokeh.

      • Thanks Nasim. I am basically a bird watcher & cameras are my “friends” to use & aid me (so a dummy in understanding them). Yes I have done poorly with TCs for my Sigma AF OS 150-500mm and previous Tamron. But they have given me great images of birds, especially with the D90 & now D7000. Will definitely try out this new lens with the V1, as weight is an issue with handheld work.
        Appreciate the reviews & response.

  5. 9
    ) tatan

    im planning to get the nikkor 28-300 lens for my D90 to tandem with my 18-105 kit lens. Now that this nikkor 18-300DX will be available soon, which one do you think is the best buy for my D90..? Thanks in advance and good review…


    • 10
      ) Homero

      Dear Nassim,
      I have the same question and the same model camera? … and I am an amateur travel photographer…
      I think if I buy the 28-300mm FX, I won’t have any problem to switch from DX to FX in the future, but If I buy the new less 18-300mm DX I won’t be able to make the switch, unless I sell both my D90 and the lens 18-300mm DX. Is this correct?

      I would like to see the angle coverage on a photo taken with both lens at 18mm (DX) and 28mm (FX) If you have it, please share with us.
      Thanks in advance!

      • If your plan is to switch to FX anytime soon, then I would not invest in the 18-300mm. As for the 28-300mm, I find it to be too long for DX (42mm equivalent), but that’s my personal opinion and choice. 18mm on DX is pretty much the same as 28mm on FX – simply multiply FX by 1.5 to get DX. And remember – the focal length itself does not change, only the field of view (what you see) does.

    • 11
      ) Francisco

      @tatan, if you already got 18-105, why would you want 28-300 that pretty much duplicates the far-end of the 18-105? Why not the 70-300 or the 80-400?

      • Francisco, I agree – buying a 18-300mm on top of 18-105mm would not be very smart.

        • 18
          ) tatan

          i want the 28-300 because maybe in the future i will have a chance to switch to full frame camera.. 70-300 or the 80-400 is very long for me at the short end.. i almost have now the budget for the 28-300, but if i sell my 18-105; then 18-300 will be my choice…
          thanks for the comment.. really appreciate it…

    • Tatan, if you want a superzoom for a DX camera, then the 18-300mm is what you want. The 28-300mm is essentially the same lens, except it is designed for a full-frame camera. Also, the focal length of 28mm is equivalent to 42mm on DX, which is often too long to be the short end. You need something wider and the 18-300mm is perfect for that.

      • 20
        ) tatan

        ok nassim.. thanks for the advice… my only consern is maybe i will upgrade to full frame in the future… but at the moment, i enjoy my D90… really a good camera….

        thanks again….

  6. 19
    ) Paul Corsa

    The Nikon reps at Camera Mart in Pontiac, MI had the 18-300 DX lens on display. It was impressive on my D300. It is heavy but covers such a great focal range that the weight would be worth it. I think I’ve found my vacation travel lens.

    • 21
      ) francisco

      wow! already out?!

      • 22
        ) Paul Corsa

        Not out yet, but the Nikon Factory Reps had one to show at “Demo Days”. I believe deliveries will begin the end of the month.

        • 23
          ) francisco

          can you post some shots or a link where we can view the shots?

          • 24
            ) tatan


            please check this sites for you to see some sample photos of the 18-300mm lens…


            • 25
              ) francisco

              i have seen those stock photos from nikon, what i want are real photos taken by the samples in real world by real ordinary people…

          • 30
            ) Paul Corsa

            Nikon had about a 10 foot wide counter space, with 3 factory reps and 2 store sales staff to keep track of all the lenses and cameras placed on the counter for people to look at and try. There really wasn’t an opportunity to do any serious photography with any of the equipment as there were too many people around. I was happy to “heft” the lens, then mount it on my D300 and see the range of coverage in a crowded store. It did focus both on light and dark areas of the store interior, as well as thru the front window to buildings across the street. There was no opportunity to take photos before passing the lens on to the next interested customer.

  7. 27
    ) Jerry Adrian

    Will the new lens(18 300) being introduced by Nikon enhance bird photography using a D5100 camera?

    • Jerry, I would never recommend a superzoom for bird photography…

      • 35
        ) Jerry Adrian

        What lenses would be a good recommendation?

      • 42
        ) Federico Alvarez

        Hi Nasim, I understand that you recommend instead some prime lenses?. But for begginers, wouldn’t you agree that superzoom is enough to tstart with? Once you’ve had reach the limit of your superzoom, then jump onto the most suitable / affordable prime lenses. What is your opinion?

  8. 29
    ) Yousef Walli

    Dear Nassim

    i own a Nikon D7000 and i use with it the Tamron AF 28.300mm F/3.5-6.3 If MACRO for most of my shoots, is it the best lens for my camera or should i replace it with the Nikon 18.300mm .

    • 36
      ) Paul Corsa

      Only you can decide if you need the wider focal range of the Nikon. Compare the size, weight,and what focal lengths you use most, then decide.

      • 37
        ) Yousef Walli

        Thanks Paul for the Tip

  9. 33
    ) BillN


    As others have mentioned, I too have an 18-200 VR and use a D90. There is really only one reason why I would consider the 18-300 and that is image quality. If the IQ is appreciably superior to 18-200, it may be worth it, especially if the D400 as recently rumored becomes available.

    I have yet to see any reviews. Are you aware of any and would you care to speculate on the IQ?


    • 34
      ) BillN

      PS. I should have mentioned the primary use would be for travel (hikes) and walk around. I would not expect IQ equal to my 2.8 lenses, just hoping to improve on the 18-200 for travel and hiking.


  10. 38
    ) mario

    Nassim i own a 300 f4 non vr lense, will the 18-300 be better or i shoud go with a Tc 4E ii converter.

  11. 39
    ) Paul Corsa

    Any current single focal length lens should be sharper than a zoom covering 18 to 300mm.I would recommend you use your 300 f4 on a sturdy tripod with or without the teleconverter for optimum results. However, it should perform well hand held in bright sunlight at fast shutter speeds.

  12. 40
    ) mario

    Thank you Paul.

  13. 41
    ) francisco

    if you haven’t heard yet, Amazon says both the 18-300 and the 24-85 will start shipping on 29-Jun-2012 and i believe for a while the 24-85 was already available in limited quantities…

  14. 43
    ) christian

    Hi Nasim. I was about to purchase the 70-300vr zoom lens over the 55-300 nikkor mainly because of the autofocus speed for my d5100. I will not update in fx in the future. Will I get the same quality image sharpness and autofocus speed as the 70-300vr2? Which one should I buy ? I’m an artist and I like shooting bird,sport, landscape,portrait and city. I already own a 18-105 but it slow focusing and i dont like it sharpnesss ,I plan to sell it if i get the 18-300. So should I get the 70-300 vr or 18-300? Image quality sharpness and autofocus speed is what i am looking for.

  15. For those interested…we did a quick physical comparison of the Nikkor 18-200mm and the new Nikkor 18-300mm DX VR lens:

    Here are some images taken using the new Nikkor 18-300mm under typical usage conditions:

  16. 45
    ) Homer

    FOCUSING ISSUE: NIKON 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G

    Dear Nasim,
    Thanks in advance for answering me… and I appreciate any comments from all of your readers
    Yesterday I bought the nikon lens 18-300. At night I tried to take some panoramics shots and realized that most of the shots was rather blur. Hence, I decided to test the lens. (live view test)
    To do so, I followed CAREFULLY ALL the steps you mention on your blog
    This is the result. Please see the photos here (RAW converted to JPG without any retouch):
    My conclusion:
    I think the lens I bought is damaged, or do you think this is a typical problem of this kind of lens. Please I want your opinion. I only have one week to return this product, after that I cannot change it but fix it.
    As you can see in the picture almost 70% (on live view) FAIL, my D90 mounted on the nikon lens 18-300 cannot focus, WHILE at the same distance and same camera settings the camera can focus as using the 18-55 and 55-200mm lens.
    FOCUS CHART 45cm away from camera
    Lens 18-300mm // Lens 18-55
    18mm focus // 18mm focus
    28mm focus // 24mm focus
    50mm FAIL // 45mm focus
    105mm FAIL // 55mm focus
    20Omm FAIL
    300mm FAIL
    FOCUS CHART 80cm away from camera
    Lens 18-300mm // Lens 18-55
    18mm focus (a bit slow) // 18mm focus
    28mm focus // 24mm focus
    50mm focus too slow // 35mm focus
    105mm FAIL // 45mm focus
    200mm FAIL(extra bit sound) // 55mm focus
    300mm FAIL extra bit s.
    FOCUS CHART 1.2meters away from camera
    Lens 18-300mm // lens 55-200
    18mm focus not sharp // 55mm focus
    28mm focus // 70mm focus (very fast)
    50mm focus // 85mm focus
    105mm focus: took too long // 105mm FAIL
    to focus 4 times I pressed // 135mm focus
    the shutter to focus // 200mm FAIL
    200mm FAIL (7 times I pressed the shuter to focus)
    300mm FAIL Extra bit sound .

  17. 46
    ) Alan

    will a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR Lenses work with a Teleconverter TC-20E III
    if not what will it work with ?

    regards Alan

  18. 47
    ) Paul Corsa

    There are still many variables to consider. Your ISO seems slow for shooting a f5.6 lens at night. Try boosting it up to 800 or 1000 and test again. How steady is your tripod? Are you shooting with the mirror up?-this will minimize vibration. How are you releasing the shutter?- either use the self timer or an electronic cable release so you do not have to touch the camera. Hang a gallon bottle of water or sandbag from the center column of the tripod to increase its stability. What is the weight rating of the ball or head of your tripod? Is it built for a heavy lens/camera combo? This lens isn’t really designed to autofocus well under low light conditions. It is a walkabout lens for general use.
    Oh yes,did you have the VR on or off-try it both ways.

  19. 48
    ) Paul Corsa

    Homer- Item 4 of the lens testing procedure was to set up in a brightly lit area. Was this part of your procedure? If not it may explain your results.

  20. 49
    ) Homer

    @ Pual Corsa,
    Thanks for commenting.
    I tried to follow step by step every detail that Nasim advice on one of his blog entries.
    As you can see in the pictures _DSC3993 : the 18-300 cannot focus.
    For instance:
    At 300mm the shooter speed was 1/200 f/5.6… this means there is more than enough light to focus.
    The 18-55mm at 55mm f/7.1 shooter speed 1/100 Although the higher aperture and low speed the lens focused without any problem… A chip lens performs by far better than the very expensive lens.

    I did the test at 11.00 am, sunshine day. I stuck the focus chart over a wall next to a 2.5m x2.0m window facing street (my room is on the 25th floor) there is no high building close to it, so there is not shadow!!!!
    Tomorrow I will take the lens to the store to be changed.

  21. 51
    ) Paul Corsa

    Homer, from what you say I believe you may have a defective lens and should return it to the dealer as soon as possible. Before you do, check the possible focus settings on your D90. My D300 has several pattern selections with either 9 or 51 point metering or spot- does your camera have alternate settings too? It may be a problem with which pattern of the matrix is selected? If not, do return the lens.

  22. 52

    Nasim…. Your opinion…. on a Sigma 18-250 f3.5 and Nikkor 18-200 VR11 ED….. What would you recommend…. Thanks in advance .. Roji

  23. 53
    ) Senthil

    Very usefull information for the beginners like me, can you suggest me which Teleconverter will fit this lens “Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR DX “

    • None. Teleconverters only work with expensive pro lenses…

      • 55
        ) Senthil

        Thanks a lot Sir for your Kindly reply.

  24. 56
    ) Vaibhav

    Can you please suggest me is there any kind of teleconverter or any other similar accessories available in market which will work with 18-300mm VR dx lens.

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